Hawaii Island MidWeek: The Kuleana Difference

Karen Anderson

Oct 9, 2019

With its distribution reach growing each day, Kuleana Rum Works is proving that world-class rum can come from a Big Island distillery.

With its distribution reach growing each day, Kuleana Rum Works is proving that world-class rum can come from a Big Island distillery.

For centuries, the colorful history of rum has been intrinsically linked to sea voyaging, sailors, tropical locales and the spirit of adventure. Such is the case with Kuleana Rum Works, conceived by Big Island native Steve Jefferson during a sailing trip across the Caribbean in 2007.

Having spent the better part of that year cruising with his wife, Jackie, and their two small children on their sailboat, Jefferson dropped anchor off the island of Martinique, where he immediately noticed the many geographic, volcanic and climatic similarities to the Big Island. After visiting Martinique’s rum distilleries and sampling rare rum agricole made with fresh sugarcane juice, Jefferson decided right then and there that he wanted to pursue a rum-making business on Hawai‘i Island where he grew up.